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Author Topic: Strangers Who Talk Too Much
Clarity
Toys to the World


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There is a fluff piece in the New York Times today about people who are too friendly. Have you ever had a hairstylist yack your ear off about their kids? A barista make you look at their vacation pictures? A bartender solicit advise about how to get his girlfriend back?
Has someone you're forced to interact with because you're paying them, or vice versa, ever invaded your personal space by going on and on and on and on about their life?
To be honest, I thought the complaint was a little strange. I'm more annoyed by rude people than over-friendly people...maybe it's a New York thing.
Then again, I once got corned on the phone for an hour with my roommate's dad because I had the lack of sense to pick up the phone when she wasn't there, and he continued to ignore polite hints that I was not interested... (I got over the politeness eventually. "Sarah's not here. Can I take a message? Thank you, goodbye" worked pretty well. He called every frickin' day to ask how she was doing, but never remembered what time her classes were at, so I ended up answering it almost daily.)
Anyway, snopesters have tons of stories and complaints, so maybe you can share some of these experiences. Go ahead, rant!

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Kevin: Pink Bunkadoo?
Randall: Yeah. Beautiful tree that was. Og designed it. 600 feet high, bright red, and smelled terrible.

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ThistleSoftware
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I'm not a big fan of total strangers (like, people on public transit or in other public places) talking to me at all much less for more than five minutes. Although I appreciate the attempt to make urban life a bit more friendly and communal, it's kind of an intrusion, and at times feels a bit threatening.

Service personnel, on the other hand, I expect to yak my ear off. So when my hairstylist or bank teller talk throughout the entire interaction I figure they're just bored and/ or feel that that's the right way to serve customers. That bothers me much less. I guess I'm weird that way.

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Officially Heartless

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Clarity:
Have you ever had a hairstylist yack your ear off ...

I read this as wack your ear off.

Have to say no to that. [Wink]

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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ChelleGame
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I had a salesman tell me all about his recent, very painful sounding, surgeries. I wasn't sure what to do with that.

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Michelle

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Buckleupp
Away in a Manager


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My least favorite is the salespeople on the phone, who go beyond "Hey, how ya doin'?" to more questions in order to sound friendly and build revenue-building rapport..."How's your holiday goin'?" "You havin' a good day?" "How's the weather down there in Alkrebakee?"

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HA! That's so funny I forgot to laugh...excluding that first Ha. -Stewie Griffin

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Maybe it's just me, but I think people who cut your hair are supposed to be talkative. I get buzz cuts so it doesn't take long, but I expect that the barber will chat with me while he's working (and I prefer places where he or she does).

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Fools! You've over-estimated me!

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mrs.hi-c clown fishies
Happy Holly Days


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I must have the "please, talk my ear off...I have nothing better to do!" tattoo across my forehead. For some reason, patients must think that I want to hear about every nook and cranny of why they are having a procedure past and present while I'm registering them for their current procedure. And no, I don't really need to hear about all of the medical problems that run in your family--including Aunt Gertrude's "mystery illness".

Really, it's none of my business. That is all.

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This song has no title...just words and a tune.

Instant Hi-C--Just add water...

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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The hairdresser/barber thing is quite different from the barista thing, and I think it's odd the article lumps them together. Ordering coffee only takes a minute or two, and there's usually someone in line behind you. Getting your hair takes significantly longer, and it would be odd, IMO, if the stylist did it all without speaking to you except to say, "tilt your head forward" and "how does it look?"

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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Just Me
Deck the Malls


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General chit-chat is fine with me, especially about children because I'm a proud parent too.

However, when they start getting into Aunt Millie's bunion problems, and how their brother Joe is cheating on his wife - I'll have to pass.

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"Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple." - Willy Wonka

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Ramblin' Dave, quietly making noise
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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A couple of my random stranger conversations have been pretty memorable. One that comes immediately to mind was a mostly one-sided exchange on the DC Metro about five years ago. A guy I'd never seen before randomly decided to tell me about his lost hat:

"I lost my hat."
"Oh."
"I just bought it a few days ago."
"I'm sorry."
"It's kind of upsetting!"
"I'll bet."
"I pay FIVE DOLLARS for something and then I LOSE it!"
To my relief, he got off the train just as he said that last line, which I have since used as my sig line on a number of boards including this one.

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Another lifetime I'd have fallen in love with you
Swept away by my feelings, ashamed and confused
But just now it's enough to be walking with you
Let the mystery play as it will! -Lui Collins

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Katness
I Saw Three Shipments


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You and I must have gotten our tatoos at the same place, mrs.hi-c... except mine shows up when I'm out at a club.

I can't tell you how many times I've been in the ladies room washing my hands or fixing my hair, and I'll get some idiotic dimwit who starts drunkenly babbling her life story at me. I usually smile politely and excuse myself as fast as I can, but I've had them follow me back to my table and continue their "schpeech" to the point where I need to be almost rude to get them to leave.

Now that Washington has joined the ranks of no-smoking-inside-clubs, it's even more fun going outside in the crappy weather and "socializing" with people I don't know. I'm not a snob, I'm really very friendly, but I just don't get people who share their most intimate details with a complete stranger.

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Eschew Obfuscation.

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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I don't mind chitchat with someone like a hairdresser, as long as there is some give and take. I don't want to listen to someone jabber for 45 minutes solid.

OTOH, I once had a massage therapist insist on trying to draw me out of myself for an entire hour long session. She asked me detailed questions about everything from my political affiliation to my religious beliefs, and then wanted to banter about it. I was more uptight when I left then when I went in.

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The technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.--House

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BlushingBride
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I had a delivery guy once go on and on about deeply personal things. Like how he wasn't happy in his marriage, and how his wife nags him all the time and bosses him around (she runs the business he delivers for). And then he went on and on about how disappointed in his children he was because they were "shacking up" instead of getting married. Then he told me how his doctors have told him he has only a few years to live.

I felt sorry for him, but I was really uncomfortable being the brunt of this outpouring of emotion. I don't know if he just felt like he needed to vent to somebody, or what was going on. He's been my delivery guy for ages and he's never acted that way before.

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"In perfume, as in underwear, the scantiest of applications provides the greatest of returns." -Silas Sparkhammer

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Clarity
Toys to the World


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Right after posting the OP, I went to lunch.. and guess what, I got a chatty server!
In a thick New Jersey accent, he proceeded to tell me "not to take the good things for granted. If you have a talent, use it, never forget that you've got it." (Imagine the accent here...)
I nodded politely. "Imagine, fer a sec, that you're a Mercedes Benz. Now if you've got a turbocharger, that mebbe adds a hundred horse power. If you keep that it in shape, keep it clean, you'll go really fast. Now, you want strawberry? I'm outta vanilla."
I nod. He hands me my ice cream. "Here ya go, sweetheart. Have a nice day."
Not creepy, or very annoying, just kinda strange. The Mercedes Benz seemed like kind of a non-sequiter. Oh well- my cafeteria seems to get some interesting characters working there, and that's cool by me usually.

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Kevin: Pink Bunkadoo?
Randall: Yeah. Beautiful tree that was. Og designed it. 600 feet high, bright red, and smelled terrible.

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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My wife & I once went shopping for furniture and the salesman started on a rant about his ex-wife and how she was screwing around and taking all his money (that's why he was working at a funiture store). [Eek!] It was rather uncomfortable for us. We kinda backed out of the store and left. I am not sure how much furniture he could sell with a technique like that (we didn't get anything and actually never went back to the place). We do drive by it now and then and laugh about it ("Remember when...").

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And now for something completely different...

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franjava
Deck the Malls


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I hate one of the cashiers at the grocery store I frequent. She feels the need to comment on everything I buy. On top of that, she's really SLOW! One of these days I'm gonna go through her line with tons of condoms, beer, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream... just to see what she says.

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Never eat anything given to you by a toddler.

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Little Pink Pill:
OTOH, I once had a massage therapist insist on trying to draw me out of myself for an entire hour long session. She asked me detailed questions about everything from my political affiliation to my religious beliefs, and then wanted to banter about it. I was more uptight when I left then when I went in.

In general, I don't care for conversation during a massage. I have a lifelong friend who's an LMT, and when she gives me a massage, we'll talk. But anybody else can just hush up and give me the massage.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Maybe a bit TMI warning! Maybe a bit TMI warning!
Maybe a bit TMI warning! Maybe a bit TMI warning!

This one is from my SIL. She went to a hairdresser to get her hair cut & styled. She was the only customer there. There were two stylists. So she is getting her hair worked on while these two stylists talk about VERY personal things. For example, one said she went to a tanning place and got her nipples burned. She proceeded to pull her top up to SHOW the other stylist how badly her nipples were burned [Eek!] . As my SIL put it, "I am really not into other women's breasts...".

I went to that place for years afterwards and it never happened to me..... [Frown] [Wink]

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And now for something completely different...

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MissEltoe
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I do not like to talk to strangers, usually. I think it comes from being somewhat shy and not easily able to make conversation sometimes. Then there are the times when I just don't feel like making small talk (which is kinda often).

I used to be the front desk operator at my job, so people would constantly be yapping my ears off all day! Now, I only do it for an hour a day (to cover the regular operator's lunch) and it's still annoying!

Usually it's the security guards we have in the office. I know their job is pretty boring, but I actually I have work to do! Stop bothering me!

[/rant over] [lol]

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Licorice of the Lord! This is classy stuff...Should I be wearing a tie? Or, at least, pants?
~I'mNotDedalus

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snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I have always had hairdressers with whom I felt rather a repoire, so we chat during the haircut. It's pleasant. If I had one with annoying habits I would find someone else, I guess.

The weirdest stranger talking to me thing I ever had, was a cow-irker who I really barely knew - I was a receptionist at a security company and she was one of the crt monitors - and my first week on the job, we were in the break room and she starts telling me that even though she comes with her husband during sex, still, when she looks at other guys, she gets horny.

Just out of the blue. We weren't having a particular deep conversation and I certainly hadn't indicated in any way that I wanted a Dr. Ruth moment!

Those were her exact words, and since I personally have NEVER spoken that frankly about myself to anyone in my life including my best friend, I just...stared and said, "oh."

GADS!!! Talk about too much information and needing brain bleach!! ICK!

I don't understand why she felt compelled to share that with me - it's not like we hit it off immediately (or ever, in fact) like you do with some people.

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I was in this situation with one of the custodians here. I tend to stay late to work on stuff (and post on snopes). He would come into my office, plant himself in my guest chair and start talking. About how he has MS. About a ton of things. I also found out from other custodians (see, I am friendly, really I am) that he was prone to exaggeration if not outright lies.

The final straw, though, was the night I left at the time that my day is officially done and got flack about "sneaking out early". A. It wasn't early. B. Even if it was, I am on salary, so I can leave whenever the hell I want to, as long as I get my work done.

I started simply looking intently at whatever I was working on and giving brief nods. Now I get a rather chilly "ma'am". But I didn't want to get involved in his medical problems.

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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LeaflessMapleTree
The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas


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quote:
OTOH, I once had a massage therapist insist on trying to draw me out of myself for an entire hour long session. She asked me detailed questions about everything from my political affiliation to my religious beliefs, and then wanted to banter about it. I was more uptight when I left then when I went in.
My dad goes to a sort-of-kind-of-chiropractor (a little different, and she hates being referred to as a chiropractor) who does something similar.

Occasionally I will go with him (maybe twice a year) to get my wonky shoulder and back nicely aligned, and it's often similar to torture talking to her. She is Israeli, but she happens to be a racist, and insists on discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict all the time, referring to Muslims as members of a terrorist religion. She thinks all Muslims can't be trusted and are evil and want to kill all Israelis. She couldn't handle that idea that I was dating a non-Jew at one point (my dad told her). She constantly debates my left-wing stance on all sorts of things.

It's a shame she's so amazing at what she does. My back never feels better than right when I leave her office. Otherwise I'd tell her off. But she's also one of those "In my day - set-in-her-ways" old people.

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"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
-Silas Sparkhammer

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FrogFeathers
Grandma Got Run Over By a Gift Card


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People do this to me all the time. And then they say something like: "I don't know why I told you all that, I just felt compelled to share..."

I feel like saying, "Our time is up, that'll be $150, pay the receptionist."

MapleLeaf- "sort-of-kind-of-chiropractor", is she an austiopath? (sp?)

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"Is it ME? Am I a MAGNET for these idiots?"~Pearl Forrester MST3K
Die-Hard Engineers, Big Red One my Dad's website
"Must be a 'snopes' thing..." ~my entire family when I try to explain something.

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El Camino
We Three Blings


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To me, there is a huge difference between getting in a conversation with someone you don't know and having someone talk at you about their life. Unfortunately, I'm not the greatest conversationalist with people I don't know, whenever I do get into a decent, back and forth conversation, it's usually pleasant, assuming I have nothing better to do. But that's totally different from someone just coming up and talking about their problems. I know some people just have things they have to get out to someone, but that doesn't change the fact that it's almost always annoying. Unless they really have interesting to say, or are simply a funny human being. So I guess I have something of a double standard (random people who talk at me annoy me...unless I like them). But whatever.

Like New Years Eve (morning) year before last...I was in NYC and missed the train out by like 2 minutes, and had to wait like an hour and a half till the next one came. Which was at five in the morning. This guy came up to us, started talking, and at first I was put off, but he was really a good guy, reasonably interesting, and humorously intoxicated. He was talking about his problems, which would normally be annoying, but you could tell he was just a really good guy who'd been hurt by someone he really liked. Just a good guy to talk to and pass the time with, even if he did most of the talking. So basically...yeah.

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switzy227
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Getting your hair takes significantly longer, and it would be odd, IMO, if the stylist did it all without speaking to you except to say, "tilt your head forward" and "how does it look?"
I agree that it would be odd, and my experience dating a stylist (and chatting with her stylist buddies) confirms such. However, I am odder still, and prefer to get my haircuts in quiet. I like the occasions when the stylist seems to comprehend that I am in no mood to talk, and I only get the standard questions. About a decade ago, when I started paying for my own haircuts regularly, I began using the level of silence as an unofficial barometer for the level of tip, at times (although I always do tip something). OTOH, had my former SO not chatted me up, I'd have never been in that relationship, so there, me....

As for general strangers, not to drag on and on, just this weekend I had an older gentlemen approach me in a grocery store parking lot carrying a large flat stone shaped vaguely like an arrowhead. After nudging me into noting the resemblence, he proceeded to display a great deal of amazement. Apparently, he found it in that form buried somewhere, or something. I stopped listening after he followed me to the other side of my car, where I bid him a firm yet friendly "have a good one." Lonely guy, maybe?

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I'm thinking of a major Jane Street sunrise / The goddess on the fire escape was you -- Steely Dan

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Brillo Bee
Wii Three Kings


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I agree that hairstylists (and bartenders in some situations) shouldn't be lumped in with some of the other examples. I would find it weird if my stylist didn't talk to me, and I don't find it weird when bartenders do talk to me. It helps if they have ability to sense how interested you are in the conversation and react accordingly.

Also, whenever I have had a regular stylist, he/she not only chats me up, but remembers details about my personal life. Do they take notes or are they just blessed with a good memory? I only get my hair cut 4 times a year, but they always seem to remember what we talked about.

Bee

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People do not wish to appear foolish; to avoid the appearance of foolishness, they are willing to remain actually fools. -Alice Walker

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Santa Mari-a
Happy Holly Days


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I probably give off a kind of "shut up and leave me alone" vibe, so I'm not the target of unwanted small talk or dramatic monologues too often. I don't think I'm ever overtly rude, but I'm not smiley and chatty with every cashier or server either.

I do meet a few gabby cashiers, though, who feel compelled to chat about my purchases: "Is that a good product?" "How do you cook those?" and so on. There's one cashier I always avoid; she's an older lady with dyed hair and a TON of makeup that's notorious for this sort of chatter.

I find myself subjected to unwanted monologues most often in my water exercise classes. The instructors continually blather about their kids, their pets, what they're going to have for supper, how they spent the weekend, what goofy kooky people they are, etc. The rationale is that it makes the time pass faster. Not to me! I must be missing some sort of female hormone, because no one else seems to mind.

One of the biggest talkers I've ever come across wasn't talking to me, thank God, but to a young woman who was his seat partner on a train. My mother and I were in the seat in front of them. From Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, he went on and on about his family, his illnesses, his job history...you name it. From time to time he would pause and say, "So anyhow..." and launch into another ten stories. My mother and I can still crack each other up by saying, "So anyhow..." at any break in a conversation.

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Si hoc comprehendere potes, gratias age magistro Latinae.

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LeaflessMapleTree
The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas


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quote:
Originally posted by FrogFeathers:
MapleLeaf- "sort-of-kind-of-chiropractor", is she an austiopath? (sp?)

It's called The Mitzvah Technique

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"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
-Silas Sparkhammer

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magpie
Deck the Malls


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Once I was going grocery shopping at Ralph's, and there was a guy sitting outside. He noticed me walking with my son in the stroller, and started "I hope you don't think I'm weird for talking to you, but..." and then he went into a 5 minute speech about how he was in town to see someone like Charlie Sheen or something, I can't remember. At the end, having not understood much of what he said, I replied:
"My son has an abnormally large head."
And I walked into the store, because I figure if anyone's going to be weirding anyone out around here, it better be me.

Posts: 439 | From: Redondo Beach, CA | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
UrbanReindeer
Deck the Malls


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I'm quite uncomfortable with random strangers chatting me up in a store or a grocery line. I know, I'm sort of antisocial. Bartenders are usually a lot of fun, because they are funny and flirty, but they don't mean a word of it. Plus, I don't have to feel embarrassed by how drunk I was and what I told the bartender - he's heard worse, I'm sure. Hairdressers I don't usually mind chatting away with ... there's something about having my hair messed with that makes the whole experience seem more intimate somehow.

However, right before my wedding I went in to have my hair cut and colored. In addition to doing a mediocre job on the haircut, (cutting curly hair is not the same as cutting straight hair!), the stylist went on at me for the whole hour about how her boyfriend was abusive and she wanted to leave him but it was her apartment and she couldn't get out of the lease ...

I was so uncomfortable. In the first place, I didn't want to hear all this, and in the second place I'd just told her I was getting married in a week. I was half afraid she'd screw up my hair out of jealousy.

Afterwards I gave her a large tip, then the cynical side of me kicked in and wondered if she'd made the whole thing up for the purpose of getting larger tips ...

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"He feeds the sparrows of the field, but He doesn't sit there and cram worms into their mouths." -- Mouse

Posts: 396 | From: Pasadena, CA | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Paulie Jay
O Little Down-Payment of Bethlehem


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I hate small talk with over friendly strangers, which is a bit of a shame considering I come into contact with many hundreds of strangers every day at Sydney Airport...

When I'm stamping passports (which, thankfully, is only a few days per month) it is my fondest wish to put up a sign that says "If I need to know anything about you I WILL ASK!" and another one that says "I have absolutely NO desire to discuss the quality of your passport photo."

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All the way with Paulie Jay

Posts: 476 | From: Sydney, NSW, Australia | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
LyndaD
Jingle Bell Hock


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Living in a small town as I do, I've developed sort of a relationship with many of the checkers at the local grocery store. During the course of our converations, I've found that 3 of them have kids either currently in class with a child of mine or previously in a class with one of them, and one checker who went to high school with DH's sister. If it weren't for chatting while scanning, I wouldn't have found out about these connections.
I'm pretty comfortable making small talk with strangers while waiting, and prefer to keep it light and unoffensive. What irritates me are the people who take one look at you and expect you to agree with their personal political, racist or prejudicial views.

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I'll drive it ugly. You can't see the paint job when you're behind the wheel, anyway.

Posts: 570 | From: Central Valley, California | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
ertceps
I Saw Three Shipments


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I used to drive a taxi and one of the strangest things I had to get used to in the beginning was how so many people(male and female) would tell me explicit and very detailed stories about their sex life

I'm guessing they think they'll never see you again so they can talk about anything and get it off their chests to someone who doesn't know them

Posts: 100 | From: Wisconsin | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Cinnamon
The First USA Noel


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I can't do small talk. Or at least, not with complete strangers in real life. So whenever I go to get my hair cut the stylist usually gives up after a couple of questions and gets on with cutting my hair. I'll answer with a sentence but I'm not really up for a long yak about my day with a total stranger (I don't have a regular stylist, just whoever's available when I want an appointment).

On the other hand, the baristas in my local Starbucks are really friendly and since I've seen a couple of them in clubs I frequent I don't mind a quick chat about my plans for the day when I drop in for an early morning white chocolate mocha.

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My blog - a continuing obsession with my weight plus much randomness
My opinions on books, music, and other stuff

Posts: 845 | From: Gloucestershire, UK | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
have yourself a Merry Little Galaxy
The First USA Noel


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A couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I went to a kitchen showroom. The sales rep questioned Hubby's use of a walking stick (he had his foot crushed in a car crash many years ago, and now has arthritis), and then went off on a five-minute tangent about friends of hers who had been involved in serious car accidents, the nature of their injuries, and the stupidity of drunk drivers.

They won't be building our cabinets.

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I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains - that's why I live in Melbourne, where it always bloody rains.

Posts: 632 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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